Horse Kills Himself at Santa Anita

From the most recent minutes at Santa Anita:

A yet-to-be-named Thoroughbred trained by Lance Hellum and owned by Sergio Mercado was killed in practice January 16. With no name at the time of his/her death, we can presume he/she was two (or younger).

5-year-old Verraco, after falling from what the Daily Racing Form described as a “severe leg injury” in the 8th January 19, was euthanized. The vileness, though, is compounded by this postscript on the Equibase chart: “The stewards conducted an inquiry into the incident in upper stretch before ruling VERRACO was the cause of his own trouble.” Yes, of course, he killed himself. Verraco was coming off a “pulled up, vanned off” in his penultimate race on October 21. Furthermore, that October race came after a 19-month layoff. Perhaps trainer James Cassidy could shed some light?

Finally, Spiritual Warrior, three, was a scratch prior to the 2nd January 19. The reason? “Deceased.” No further information was disclosed.

This is horseracing.


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  1. Poor Verraco, a prime example how no one in this industry – from the top down to the people who “love and take care of the horses like family”- is really looking out for the health and welfare of the horses. The stewards should be conducting an inquiry on themselves as to why they allowed this horse to even step foot on the track again. But they don’t care. And yet they all bemoan the fact that horse racing is dying off and they aren’t attracting a new fan base? One would think the frequent horse deaths would clue them in? But again- they don’t care. It’s business as usual.

    • And lets not forget the veterinarians – everybody in this business has sold their souls to the money. Nobody is looking out for the welfare of the horse, period.
      Verraco was killed by racing and everyone in the business had a hand in it. There are no rules in place to prevent situations like what occurred because the horse is disposable in their eyes.
      And the steward’s comment that Verraco was the cause of his own trouble is absolutely sick. The connections the stewards the vets, all sent this horse to his death.

  2. VERRACO: the PP’s are a testament to his ongoing abuse, and inhumane treatment as he DNF’d the PREVIOUS RACE!! This race was on 10/21/2017, and then he suddenly shows up again.
    This time he didn’t make it out alive because of these racehorse abusers, and enablers of this dying.
    This abusive example, any many more, are taking place on a property owned by a so called racehorse lover: Frank Stronach.
    Furthermore, Magna “entertainment” or The Stronach Group or whatever they are re-branding themselves with, are now paying people to ship into California to race because there is such a shortage of horses.
    Monetary policies such as this, and paying up to last place, is a major cause towards racehorses being pulled from fields, and/or forced to run while maimed, and/or dropping dead in the dirt.
    FYI, it was the HBPA (the horseman’s groups that control most wagering via the Interstate Wagering Act) that initially implemented the “pay up to last place” policy.
    So as long as these racehorses are numbers, filling races, increasing wagering profits they will implement whatever monetary policies necessary to support this goal.
    If racehorses are dropping dead to fulfill their goal, then that’s okay with them.
    Funny how they find millions to augment their wagering profits, but can’t cough up $200 to save a lame racehorse standing at a kill pen when it has no viable limbs to fill races for them!
    Repulsive, vile, and utterly heartless assholes – every single one of them!

  3. I hope you can get the word out to as many people as possible. It’s sad to see the picture of the dead horse.
    Im starting to feel repulsed when I just think of horse racing, I hope you and others will be successful in getting this blood sport out of and from the people who bet on the races. I don’t think the people who make the big money are going to let it go without a big fight.

  4. This is truly horrible. When is this dangerous activity going to be against the law. How man horses need to die. Horribe

  5. We inbreed these beautiful animals for speed. A horse can weigh over a ton. But. race horses legs are thinner than a dogs. Why? So they can run faster. This whole so called sport makes me sick. It should be illegal.

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